Decline in ICT exports little cause for worry – IDC

Export drop belies good prospects for local markets, analyst says

Statistics NZ figures showing a decline of yearly ICT exports in 2004 give little cause for worry, says Graeme Muller, NZ country manager of research company IDC. Most of the decline is in “areas we don’t particularly want to be involved in," he says.

.The Statistics figures, published this week, show total exports of information technology goods and services, excluding communication services, decreased 14.9% (to $576.3 million) in the 2004 financial year. However, the overwhelming bulk of the drop is in exports of “communication hardware and cables”, which decreased by 42.7% over the previous year. There was a much smaller (4.6%) decrease in export sales of software, Statistics reports.

Communications hardware and cabling is an increasingly commodtised market, Muller says, and he suggests that good prospects for the future of the local industry lie more in the export of intellectual property in the form of software and services.

The decline was probably influenced as much by the high value of the New Zealand dollar as by specific ICT industry factors, he says.

In any case, he says, the export decrease was more than offset by a 2.2% increase in the sales of IT goods and services to domestic customers, which reached $6.439 billion, according to Statistics.

Total sales of IT goods and services (excluding communication services) were valued at $7.015 billion for the 2004 financial year. This is a 0.6% increase from the sales recorded in the 2003 financial year.

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